By David Blackmon
Last week saw a couple of news events that caught my attention and made me think about how silly our societal priorities have become.
The first event was the Obama Administration’s release of its annual federal budget plan which, for the sixth consecutive year, proposed the repeal of every tax treatment related to oil and gas currently on the federal books. No surprise here – it’s what the industry has come to expect from a President who claims to favor an “all of the above” approach to energy policy, but a “let’s pick winners and losers” approach to energy tax code.
The second event came from Hollywood, that bastion of support for President Obama since the day of his inauguration. It came in the form of a story in Variety titled, “Harvey Weinstein to California: Expand Production Tax Incentives, ‘Please’ “.
Yes, that Harvey Weinstein, the billionaire producer of dozens of blockbuster films over the last 30+ years, ranging from “Pulp Fiction” to “Shakespeare in Love” to “The Aviator” to “Django Unchained”, among many others. Good entertainment, high quality films – it’s hard not to admire the breadth, quality and depth of Mr. Weinstein’s filmography, which has made him deservedly a fabulously wealthy individual.
Yet, Mr. Weinstein believes his company is in need of more tax breaks from the state of California than it already receives. Why? Because tax breaks offered by other states, like Louisiana, have made Hollywood’s home state non-competitive for Mr. Weinstein’s capital dollars.